Please watch the photographs taken during that visit and also read the report published by The Hindu.
ALABAMA: The former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, urged non-resident Indians to be good citizens and to contribute to the success of their new home.
He was addressing a gathering on October 27 at a reception hosted in Birmingham by one of the organisers of his visit to the State of Alabama, law firm Haskell Slaughter Young & Rediker, and S.S. Rajsekar, managing trustee of the National Agro Foundation.
Mr. Kalam praised the firm and the University of Alabama (UA) System for all the work being done to build relationships with India.
William Slaughter, founder of the law firm, called Mr. Kalam a “renaissance man.”
The visit brought over a dozen businessmen from India to Alabama to explore business avenues.
Later, Mr. Kalam visited the university at Birmingham and the campus at Huntsville, which is the birthplace of the American space programme.
“This is truly a remarkable event in the history of our university. Not only is Mr. Kalam a former Head of State, but he is the father of India’s vibrant and productive space programme, a scientist, and a visionary,” said David Williams, president of UA, Huntsville.
At the university, Mr. Kalam went round research laboratories, and interacted with the faculty and students. “Huntsville is well-known for its space research,” Mr. Kalam said, adding he was impressed with the research focus of the Huntsville community, and was looking forward to further scientific and educational relationships being built between the communities at the university and those in India.
Mr. Kalam’s tour included the University’s Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research (CSPAR). Scientists and students from the centre, including many scientists from India working at the university, presented works ranging from the study of interactions between solar wind and the Earth’s magnetosphere, to the most powerful explosions in the universe, known as gamma-ray bursts, each of which releases more energy in a few seconds than the Sun will emit in its entire lifetime.
At the SERVIR laboratory at UA Huntsville, Mr. Kalam met researchers and discussed efforts to shorten the response time to fires in Central America, improve the fishing industry of El Salvador, track West Nile Virus in Africa, and to monitor deforestation in Guatemala and Mexico.
“I have a vision of India where each of our 20,00,00,000 children plants five trees,” noted Mr. Kalam. “In this way, we would be able to plant a billion trees in India, to help preserve our land, improve our climate, and make our environment more sustainable. A project such as SERVIR would serve as a tremendous resource to help track our progress to this goal.
The SERVIR programme, sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the United States Agency for International Development, integrates satellite observations, ground-based data, and forecast models to monitor and forecast environmental changes, and to improve response to natural disasters.
At the NASA Center, Mr. Kalam met the leadership responsible for the Chandra X-Ray Observatory, named after Indian astrophysicist Subramanyan Chandrasekhar, and now in its 10th year of observations.